[Spirit Checked Bag Weight Allowance Increased!] Spirit Changes Mark The End Of The ULCC Model In The US

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Update, 6/4: Spirit continues to trickle out policy improvements. They have now increased the checked baggage weight allowance from 40 to 50 pounds without paying hefty overweight fees! I’m old enough to remember when all airlines allowed 2 or 3 free 70 pound checked bags, but 50 pounds matches the current policies for non-elites at most major airlines.

Your move Frontier.

Update, 5/22: Spirit has now matched Frontier in changing their flight credit expiration from 90 days to 1 year, so you can cancel flights and use the credit for a full year!

Originally posted on 5/20:

Low-cost carriers have struggled to find their way to profitability post-COVID. Major carriers, starting with United, eliminated change fees during the pandemic, except on basic fares. That allowed them to effectively compete for all customers. Customer of ULCCs (ultra low-cost carriers) migrated to other airlines offering more frills.

When low-cost carriers Avelo and Breeze launched, they didn’t even bother with change fees.

Last week, Frontier ditched change fees except on basic fares and extended flight credit expiration from 90 days to 1 year. They are also adding back phone support among other frills that mark the end of the ULCC model.

And now Spirit, which has struggled mightily of late to turn a profit, is also leaving the ULCC model behind.

Flight cancelations, up until the time of departure, are now free on all fares! These previously cost up to $119 each. You will get a flight credit, though unfortunately, Spirit flight credits still expire after 90 days.

But while other US airlines offer basic fares without free changes, Spirit is now the leader in free changes? Go figure!

While major network carriers launched basic fares to compete with the ULCCs, the ULCCs are now moving in the opposite direction. The lines between the network carriers and the low-cost carriers will likely continue to blur.

Plus, you can save a bundle when you book Spirit tickets at the airport and get free changes on those as well.

The airline shares with DansDeals that they are not done yet either!

Spirit has been evaluating changes to our product and strategy that will help us better compete, elevate the Guest experience and return to profitability. We are excited to roll out a no change and no cancel fee policy for all Guests effective May 17. This new policy is among the best in the industry because it applies to each and every Guest. We have many other enhancements in the works and look forward to sharing more soon.

Seems like Spirit felt they had to match Frontier quickly, and will figure out the rest of the value proposition in the coming days.

Hopefully that includes more fare levels with free bags and longer flight credit validity, as Frontier did.

Of course, you’re still flying Spirit with a narrow 28″ pitch and while major airlines give free drinks and snacks, those are still at charge on Spirit. Worse yet, Spirit has no protection agreements with other airlines when things go wrong.

Will these changes be enough to get you to fly Spirit?


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52 Comments On "[Spirit Checked Bag Weight Allowance Increased!] Spirit Changes Mark The End Of The ULCC Model In The US"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


I flew Spirit the first time last year Newark – Oakland r/t and it was flawless, as 99% of their (and anyone else’s) flights are. I would be wary doing a stopover with them but as long as you know what you’re getting, flying the can make sense sometimes…


Frequent Friends Feel Frontier Farsed Spirit’s Form, Foolish Followers Feeling DansDeals Flowing Fallability of Flailing Phrase – Friends Don’t Let Friends Fly Spirit?

Time will tell.


90 days is pretty short. That being said, it’s more generous than legacy carrier basic econ. If united were to make that change to basic econ and allow changes, it soils be big (especially as a card member who gets the checked bag and carryon)


*would be big


Unless you’re flying often enough to take advantage of the credit within 90 days, this is basically just a fish hook to catch customers without feeling the commitment to the purchase.


Book and cancel with flight credit?


Ive had multiple bad experiences with them. Not going to fly in near future.


Me too

Deal Guy

Is the credit transferable to another passengers name?

I have and will

I wouldn’t fly across the country on Spirit, but on ahort hauls from NYC to Florida, sure. I can buy my own drink and survive for a few hours without wifi.

I bought four seats on Spirit in January and paid what my friend did for one seat. The cramped seats are tougher to ignore but I’ve had worse customer service on Jetblue and American.

Delta is my favorite airline but Spirit is fine.


Flying Spirit since ‘2007, consistently, and only once had an issue. Always big front seats or emergency seat.


I focus on flying to and from Spirit Hub airport where they have extra planes in the event of a delay . I also have a backpack that fits the perfect dimensions for a personal item . I use my Amex Platinum incidental credit for luggage and or big front seat .


Can you share a link to the backpack?


The one I use happened to be a deal I found on a backpack on Mountain Hardware’s website.

However if you put the term Spirit Personal Item bag on Amazon you can find bags starting at $10 and up !


I just flew Spirit from Newark to Vegas. Upgraded to one of their Big front seats. Totally worthwhile in terms of comfort and legroom. Would do it again.


Friends now let friends fly Spirit!


Unless they reinstate mask mandates.

Chaim Green

Would fly Spirit 100 times before united, 99% ontime.


Dan, you missed the opportunity to provide an affiliate link to a bag that fits perfectly under the seat. I bought such a bag for $9.99 on Amazon in 2023 and it’s held up nicely on 14 flights so far.

I have and will

I have an underseater that is allowed and works well on Spirit but when I flew United in April, it was too large. I can fit a week’s worth of clothing in it. No suits or dresses though.


I fly Spirit all the time with my family. Never had an issue. Very happy!


Spirit’s website is terribly broken. Every time we try booking, it gives an error; this is true from multiple browsers. I would argue that they are losing a ton of money by flyers just not able to book and moving on to the next carrier.

atlanta flyer

Email I received from Spirit says that you have a full year to use your travel credit


Can you make a post about T-Mobile increasing their fees on accounts that were supposed to be price locked


What is ULCC? – pet peeve, everyone assuming we all know the same acronyms – j.k. just curious to understand better. Thanks.


Ultra Low Cost Carrier. Or you could google it.


Makes sense. Thanks. I see it now. My miss on the first read.

Texas Totty

What’s JK?


Just kidding. Which I think you may be. Have a good day. 🙂




just found answer to my own question in the article..


I flew Spirit once to Miami, to my shock when I got on the plane, the seats were thin (thin cushion on plastic), and NO reclining whatsoever! I sat uncomfortable for 3 hours, It’s a real disgrace.


So pay the extra $400, and enjoy your seat and $0.75 bag of blue chips.


$400? A flight from NY to MIA is not much cheaper with Spirit, than if you start adding the fees, carry on bag ($41 one way), water, etc. and sitting on a school bus, I’m not sure you end up cheaper, and even if you saved $25 definitely not worth it.


Flying an ULCC take extra time work and hassle to save money . First , one needs to prepare the right bag and packing skills to avoid using carry on bags . Second , one need to bring your own snacks and to be willing to face some temporary discomfort ( kind of like going to the gym vs staying at home ) . Third , one needs to have a back up plan in the event the flight is delayed or canceled . This is not easy and is not for everyone …

I have and will

Definitely uncomfortable but three hours later I had lots of money in my pocket anwho remembers or cares about the flight.


What about credit I currently have?


What about Allegiant, are not a ULCC


I can remember when they allowed two pieces checked each up to 70 pounds. Even with that it was never enough


Spirit continues to prove that they offering more for the consumer, while JetBlue has been racing to the bottom for the past decade.

Ask Me, I know it!

Spirit has enough cash / assets to operate for about another year and a half. The ULCC model does not work. While Delta, United and AAL are making billions per year, Spirit, Frontier and Jblue are losing money. unless they make changes to their business model, they will be gone within another year or two.


Spirit vs Frontier….talk about a race to the bottom if there ever was one


How does racing to the bottom correlate with a report of allowing an an additional 10 pounds for checked luggage for no additional charge?


Because they still don’t allow any carry-on bag.


Neither does JetBlue, or United (on Basic economy)


LOL you remember when ‘all airlines allowed 2 or 3 free 70 pound checked bags’. You also remember when everyone was forced to pay for those 2 or 3 ‘free’ pieces of luggage even if they didn’t bring it on board. It was included in the fare. With Spirit’s prices you can still pay for your luggage if you want, or you can fly practically free without paying for the luggage or any other add-ons that you don’t need. No such thing as a free lunch. Spirt will need to raise their ridiculously cheap fares to pay for this change. The savvy passengers will lose out.


I’m always amazed how people save over $150 on a round-trip ticket with Spirit but are too cheap to spend $4 on the drink. And then they kvetch that Spirit is stingy. Go figure!

Spirit fan

I would argue this is not good news because now ther prices on flights will go up
The good thing about them was prices are cheap and beat them at there game get a good big briefcase that will fit and get to Florida for 100 bucks I fear that might go away